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I found this odd rooty thing growing in one of the pots on my patio - any idea what it might be? I'm in Cape Town, South Africa, and it's the tail end of winter here.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Has this grown at all? If you have pictures of newer growth, it might help someone ID this plant... $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Mar 6 '17 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ Could it be a gymnosperm (cycad-group)? Just a bit visual similarity. Something else could be happen, such as a bulbous monocot. $\endgroup$ – Always Confused Apr 10 '17 at 16:33
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This is possibly some species in the subfamily Scilloideae. (sometimes considered as separate family called Hyacinthaceae). This group of plants is a subfamily of bulbous plants within the family Asparagaceae.

  • Scilloideae are distributed mostly in Mediterranean climates, including South Africa

This subfamily contains many popular spring-flowering garden bulbs, so it would not be unlikely to see these growing up toward the very end of winter.

Drimiopsis maculata seems like a fair guess at the species (or closely related to the species in the question).

https://cld.pt/dl/download/1c5c2fb0-d4dd-4e02-b38d-1d7399778d3f/DSCF9402.JPG

http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/Hyacinthaceae/Drimiopsis_maculata.html

According to here, info pertaining to Drimiopsis maculata includes:

  • Distribution: widespread in eastern South Africa

  • Bulb description: Globose, fleshy, mostly exposed at the surface of the ground, about 2.5 cm in diameter and have large visible scales

  • Leaves: mottled, but typically lose color to become all green.


I'm hesitant to provide more info because I'm still not sure about this identification. Figured I'd throw it up to see if others could rabbit-hole their way to a better answer...

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    $\begingroup$ wow brilliant similarity. $\endgroup$ – Always Confused Apr 10 '17 at 19:27
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    $\begingroup$ @AlwaysConfused right?! except for the mottled leaves.... However, I assume since the spots fade in most specimens, they could possibly be absent altogether in specific cultivars? I looked into other species in this genus (and similar ledebouria) but didn't find anything that looked as similar to the OP's pic... $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Apr 10 '17 at 19:31

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